Category Archives: Warhammer 40k

New edition, new inquisitor

With a new edition of 40k I realised I have to build a new Inquisitor. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a character builder – which shouldn’t be a surprise given that I have thirteen Skyrim characters, and ten of them are below level five. And that I can’t quite face building the Skitarii infantry I bought, and seem to instead be embarking on a quest to remove all of my Guardsmen’s heads, replace them with cooler ones, and repaint their fatigues. I’ll er… keep you posted on how that pans out.

So yes, I’m like a lazier, lower-quality version of those Scandinavian guys who build astonishing Inquisimunda warbands all day. I have many Inquisitors, and many retinues, and most of them have managed a couple of games in at least one edition, with varying results. I’ve just last night noticed that the Skitarii vanguard/rangers kit is full of greatcoats with cyborg limbs and arcane weapons – finally a kit perfect for building agents of the Inquisition!

I really wanted my 8th edition Inquisitor to be in a realistic sword-wielding stance, but in all of my bits, I couldn’t find a single suitable right arm, or a leg/torso combination in a fencer’s stance of right leg leading and narrow profile. Everyone in the 40k universe is striding chest first into the enemy, the crazy bastards. Usually with their left foot leading.

So I guess I’m going with striding purposefully chest first into the enemy, head and weapons lowered or maybe pointing accusingly, like the guy on the front of the old Codex: Witch Hunters.

page1-434px-Witch_Hunters_pdf

Too many eyes! You’re toast!

For a head I’ll see if I can track down the Eldar guardian bare head that looks like an anime hero. I’ve used it to good effect before, and I think a young male Inquisitor is the ticket this time. The last two have been ladies.

Pictures soon!

Advertisements

Eversor!

2017-06-15 13.38.52This is my Eversor assassin, freshly stripped and painted. I love this classic model, it’s a 1995 sculpt and I really prefer it to the new one. The new guy just looks so clean, like a SCUBA diver with a skull mask. This guy looks freaky and unbalanced, with his ape-like posture and huge head and hands. It just looks so… 40K, to me.

Eversor

Here he is undercoated with Army Painter Bone spray.

I couldn’t find his backpack unfortunately so I stuck some daggers on his back to represent the power sword. I went for a Blanchitsu influence with the paintwork, but I’m afraid I went too far over the top and now it just looks like a poor copy of a Blanche mini. I even copied his typical colour palette, although mine is a bit less green than his current stuff. The mis-shapen lump he’s standing on was meant to initially be bricks but I like that it looks like a gruesome pile of meat now.

I hear that in 8th edition Eversor is a beast, and I’ve been using this guy since… well probably since about 1995. Hopefully if/when I get a game in he can tear through some enemies, old school.

Things are looking up

It’s been a fair while since I’ve posted here, and it’s mostly because I’ve been busy with other projects. I’ve been formalising my various art pursuits into a legal and legitimate business. It’s all going very well, if a bit haphazardly. I’m still learning. I’ve had an exhibition, I have several commissions on the go, and I’ve just joined the stable of illustrators for an online SF magazine. So that’s a regular gig! Not much money but every little bit helps and is going into the new account to grow the business. I’ve had to learn a lot of things I didn’t know, and spend some money for set-up and production costs which otherwise might have gone to miniatures gaming.

I say might, because… well, my wargaming and miniature painting hobby is something that I doubt I’ll ever truly abandon, but it’s certainly waned in importance to me over the last few years. I’ve been much more likely to spend my money on art supplies, pizza, going out for a drink, pretty much anything but wargames. I’ve bought one rulebook in the last year (Aetius and Arthur for SAGA) and the only models I’ve bought were some GW Skitarii I got with money from selling some of my collection.

That said: how about that new Warhammer 40k hey?

Looks pretty great to me. I’ve been following the information released on the Warhammer Community page (which is surprisingly entertaining and informative) for a while now, and I have to say, I have not seen one thing that I didn’t like the sound of. Not one. The latest thing to make me happy is the knowledge that every army I sort-of-collect for 40k (Astra Militarum, Adeptus Mechanicus, and the Inquisition) will all be in one book at release, which is soft-cover and not too expensive, and so I can just pick that up and then paint my Eversor and Skitarii projects whenever I feel like it.

In fact I’m so enthused about new 40k that I’m feeling unreservedly positive about Games Workshop games for the first time in what has sadly been many years. I’m thinking I’m going to re-activate my old blog, Warp Signal. I started it when I was really positive about gaming, and I closed it when I started feeling not so positive, and now it feels right to go back and have a rebirth of sorts. I fell out of GW games, by which I mean I stopped buying books, in 5th edition. It’s hard to believe really – it’s been two whole editions since I’ve felt good enough about the whole thing to actually buy a book. And now I think I’ll buy this one, so that’s definitely… something.

Catch you here or there,

Jimmy

List building agony

My Skitarii boxes have arrived, and now I’m faced with the puzzle of how to build them.

One of the things I like least about 40k as a system is the granularity it allows when it comes to equipping troops. I think squads should be treated the way they are in many historical wargaming systems: the equipment on the models is purely cosmetic, and the squad has set abilities. If being able to customise individual weapon loadouts within a squad was removed, I think the game would instantly become much easier to balance, quite a bit quicker to play, and far, far easier to make lists for. If they have any sense then 8th edition will be the one where they finally get rid of the skirmish-game legacy of Rogue Trader. Or at least streamline it.

Anyway, what I’m having trouble with is the bloody special weapons! Yes, I’ve read all the Reddits, and Bolter + Chainsword and Dakka Dakka threads. Not to mention 1d4chan and some Frontline Gaming competitive blog posts and some Imperator guides. I have a good theoretical grasp of what the weapons are capable of. I just don’t know if they’re worth it.

I guess it would be nice to have an arc rifle in each squad just in case I need to take a potshot at a tank or a Knight. Or a plasma caliver to melt extra marines. But more than one, and I’m really eating into the basic weapons, which are actually really good. Plus, vanguard all have haywire grenades anyway, the magnificent radioactive bastards. And if I leave the special weapons out altogether I can easily port the models over to Heresy games when I need to.

At this stage I’m definitely leaning towards assembling the squads “bare bones” as they say. It’s easy, and clean, and if after a few games it looks like I need the special weapons, I can grab some bodies off eBay maybe. And let’s be honest, the guys I normally play with are all pretty much exclusively Heresy players now. It’s just really hard to shake off my years of experience as an Imperial Guard general. A bunch of rifles with a special weapon or two just feels like the way it’s done, damn it.

In other news, I’ve succesfully stripped the paint off my old 1995 Eversor assassin, and I’m going to update him with a modern 40mm base and a new paintjob: ready for another few years of obliterating enemies of the Imperium/getting shot by a tank as he runs across the battlefield. More on that to come.

Skitarii

2017-03-06 20.33.47-1

Ranger of Mars!

 

I’ve sold all of my Tau, and it wasn’t easy. Not that letting them go was hard – that bit was easy enough.  No, I mean all the local facebook groups I put them on seem to be much quieter than they were the last time I sold something, a couple of years ago. They were up on three groups for a week without a nibble, and a fourth group never even got around to activating my membership request in all that time.

Then I got impatient and put them on eBay, and they sold within half an hour to a worthy fellow from Queensland.

So I’ve used the money I got from the Tau to order two of the unusually good value (for GW) Start Collecting: Skitarii boxes. One from Emerald Hobbies in Queensland (thanks to Warlock for the recommendation), and one from a guy on eBay in the UK who it turns out was trading as ++REDACTED++ Publishing. I always liked ++REDACTED++’s RPG supplements. Funny to think that they have a sideline selling warhams to people on the secondary market. Every little bit helps I guess.

I’m very excited about the Skitarii. I also ordered some of these heads from Puppetswar in Poland:

305-1131-thickbox

See, I don’t one hundred percent like the hooded heads for the Skitarii rangers. I think they look too monastic. And if you have a vision, there’s no settling for less than one hundred percent right? The drawing up at the top is a sort of concept art pic I drew last night for how I’d like my rangers to look. The ricepicker hat (that sounds racist but I’m not sure why exactly, and I’m pretty sure it’s the common term) with the flappy robes and long rifle will create a very cool cyborg ashigaru look I think. It’s a look I tried to achieve with my Fire Warriors and I never felt that it worked. The vanguard are fine as they are: I like their medieval European style helmets, I think it suits their shock troop style.

I’m planning on gunmetal bodies for the cyborgs, a sort of weathered buff or tan for their coats, and black glossy helmets for the rangers with red cog logos. The onager walker-tanks will have desert yellow plating and again, gunmetal legs and stuff. I’m going to sell the two Adeptus Mechanicus dominusses (domini?) that come in the box to buy some Sicarians because they look awesome. Should be able to get a decent price for new-on-sprue AdMech in my local area, people love ’em.

Oh and game-wise I’m going to run a Skitarii Maniple, so no HQ. I actually think that’s very cool – being controlled from above by a tech-priest. It sounds immersive since I’m controlling them from above in the real world.

Big guns never tire

2017-02-25-12-25-40Hu-what?! Two posts in one month?

That’s right, I’ve most definitely entered stage three of my wargaming and hobby cycle. I’m thinking lately that a large part of the wisdom of experience is just being around long enough that eventually, no matter how thick you are, you notice your own patterns and habits – both short and long term. I’ve come to peace with the fact that I like the odd game, and I enjoy painting models (so long as it’s reasonably varied and interesting) but I get to “urgh, too much” quite quickly with respect to both.

In response to this, I seem to have developed an unconscious habit. I get excited by something new about once every two years or so, bite off a manageable chunk, then tweak models and background to my satisfaction so that it can fit more-or-less organically into my existing collection. At the moment I have two manageable chunks in mind, one for SAGA and one for 40k.

I mentioned a while back that I got some Pictish models. Well now my Aetius and Arthur book has arrived, and I realised that with my three historical warbands of Picts, Irish and Vikings, I am now fully equipped to accurately fight petty wars and raids the length and breadth of dark ages Scotland! Let’s hear it for extremely narrow historical/geographic gaming windows! Sorry, I think this is probably funnier to me as an Australian than it would be to a European. I know there were several rich, disparate cultures – entire kingdoms even – fighting for supremacy. But it’s just kind of funny that they were doing so in an area that’s probably smaller than some of the great West Australian cattle properties of the 1800s… which had about sixty people on them. I just imagine that the Picts and the Scots must have been very tiny.

Now, to 40k. I don’t know why and I don’t know how (to paraphrase Nick Cave), but I’ve suddenly become enamoured of the Skitarii. The models look cool, they have a post-human, cyberpunk theme married to the usual grimdarkery, and they look to me as though they even have my preferred playstyle: mid-range savagery a la the Sisters of Battle. Unfortunately in the last year my family has been hit with several huge medical, dental and car-related expenses, leaving me flat broke. And flat broke is the worst state to be in when you get the 40k itch, right?

So I think I’m going to put my Tau up for sale on the local facebook groups. They’re a small, nicely painted allied detachment that are mercenary themed so they can plug into almost anyone’s army. Hopefully I can get enough for them to fund the Skitarii, who will also only ever be a small army that I can plug into my Guard. And maybe if and when I get sick of the Skitarii I’ll sell them to fund the next lot, as I did with my Sisters and my Eldar.

I’m still wary of 40k. The whole thing could go Age of Sigmar mental at any time, and it’s already confusing as all hell. But that’s life I guess, you take your dice and roll ’em.

Oh and I also painted my medusa emplacements for my 30k militia, the Uruq Immortals. That’s them at the top there.

Gryph-Hounds and Eldar

goodwin-eldar-sketch

I stared at these blade-like curves for hours as a kid.

I wonder how many other people around the world saw pictures of the new Age of Sigmar Gryph-Hound thingies and immediately had to know: “would an Imperial Guardsman look good on that thing’s back?”

Apologies if you thought this blog was dead. I doubt it will ever truly die, given my fairly predictable gaming cycle:

  • Stage one: Hmmm. I used to like playing the odd game of Warhams. I wonder what’s going on in that world at the moment?
  • Stage two: Whoa! That’s pretty cool. But holy shit this stuff is expensive. No way am I investing in another army when the last game I played was like a year ago.
  • Stage three: I do like Inquisition though… and Guard will never go out of fashion, right? Maybe if I carefully buy and plan this one unit to add on, it’ll be fine.
  • Stage four: (three months later) Done! Let’s play a game!
  • Stage five: Well that was fun. Games sure do take a long time though. I’m tired and thirsty. And the store is so far away. Maybe I’ll give next week a miss.
  • Stage six: Do nothing miniature gaming-related for a year or so, then return to stage one.

Anyway if you’re a neat person who unfollows blogs when they go dormant for a few months, it was nice knowing you!

For the rest of you who are still here… I’m currently entering stage three. There are some interesting and nice models coming out of GW lately, and I’m curious to see where the 40k not-End Times ends up. I’m still intimidated by how many books keep coming out. And in fact I already haven’t bought two because even though I really wanted them, I was afraid they’d be invalidated before I ever played a game with them. Genestealer Cults and Imperial Agents, if you’re wondering.

I also think it’s great that they are giving away prints of some of Jes Goodwin’s Rogue Trader Eldar artwork. It’s probably my favourite art from that era of GW illustration. Shame I can’t just buy the print without also buying hundreds of dollars worth of Aeldari Reborn or whatever. Ah well. It seems a bit rough to complain when they’ve made some amazing models in the last couple of years for things like the Mechanicum and the stealer cults – stuff I’ve wanted for decades.

Jes’s art really is great. I was just thinking yesterday, the older I get the more obvious it is to me that very few people, even among the so-called creative class, actually have a good imagination. When someone does, it blows everything around it up and lasts for ages. It’s like Lord of the Rings. A whole genre appeared, and for like thirty years afterwards people – who were supposed to be fiction writers, and fantasy ones at that – seemed incapable of imagining villains who weren’t some sort of Dark Lord. It took decades before people started to wonder why the Dark Lord was so Dark anyway, and what if we looked at it from his point of view? Or what if *gasp* there was no dark lord at all in this story?

Anyway, Jes’s Eldar were like that. They were the most original aesthetic in Rogue Trader and the Eldar Aeldari models and art we see today still echo their look. So to speak.

I’m serious, does anyone know if a Cadian would fit on a Gryph-Hound?

Red Sun Corporation

IMG_0354

+++++Master,

I can confirm that Hanzo, the commander of the xenos mercenary company “Red Sun Corporation” (RSC) is the same individual who was wounded – and presumed dead – by the Ultramarines last year on Gloominwald. It appears as though his blasphemous battle armour was damaged beyond repair, and he now leads on the ground, with his lieutenant and rumoured lover Ayame. His predilection for sudden attacks and bold strategy has not waned, it seems.

More interestingly, I have determined that the RSC is somehow beholden to your colleague, the honourable Lady Inquisitor Lucienne Izumi. This means that she currently has at least two mercenary outfits at her disposal in the sector, and it seems as though she has folded the Kings of St. Arkham into the RSC. I would not presume to guess at her motives.

Faithfully your servant,

Brasidas++++

++++Yes, that’s my job. Thank you old friend, this is most interesting++++

Work continues on my mercenary army for Warhammer 40,000. This weekend I am playing in a doubles event so I am frantically trying to cram painting into my few spare hours. As the story above relates, Hanzo now counts-as Darkstrider. I’ll be back with more pics later in the week, before the battle.

Till then,

James

Warhammer 40,000 Forbidden Stars review in the Swedish Guardian

One of my friends on facebook just linked to this, an extensive review of Warhammer 40,000: Forbidden Stars. I guess it shows how “relaxed” I have become about keeping up with Warhammer 40k that I had no idea this was coming out.

Interesting I think for two reasons: the Guardian (which is a pretty big newspaper) is running a long review of a sci-fi board game, a GW IP no less; and it looks like just the sort of thing that might save GW from their current problem. Which to me can basically be summed up as “no-one wants to buy into that mess, so the only people playing are those already invested.”

This looks like one of those big complicated 1990s-style token-and-card strategy games like Shogun and Axis and Allies. I used to love them. A large-scale gateway game is what many of us in the blogosphere think is lacking from miniature wargaming these days.

We’ll see,

James

Merc Tau Hammerhead

Merchammerhead

Above is the mercenary Tau Hammerhead I’ve been working on for a 40k event on the 30th. I got the inspiration from these:

red-back-spider-24T5855-02

Redback spider

I don’t normally use gloss varnish but I thought it would look good this time. I’m not sure about it. It looks better in the photo, and in natural light, but in artificial light the gloss just looks tacky to me.

Oh well, it’s done now. And it’s growing on me I suppose. The Inquisition sanction has been placed there by the radical Ordo Xenos Inquisitor who is the mastermind of my mercenary army, so that the Tau can move unscathed through Imperial settlements. I figure your average Imperial citizen is going to be more frightened of an Inquisition seal than they are xenophobic.

Oh, and I have been having a lot of fun on Instagram lately, and have been putting up pictures of models there as well as here. You are welcome to follow me @jimmiespence.

Till next time,

James